Catching Up With Michael Young

If you are a regular reader of TransWorld Motocross then you have probably seen Michael Young gracing the pages of the magazine on more than a few occasions. As one of our resident testers Michael has been around since the beginning of TWMX, and has been racing competitively for even longer.

Most recently, Michael took a trip up north for the opening round of the Amp’d Mobile World Supercross series, and did quite well for himself aboard a borrowed bike. With Rob Thorne wrenching for him, Dez Nuts won the Supercross Class LCQ and went on to ride the less-then pristine CRF450, with nothing more than Pro Taper bars and MB1 suspension on it, to 15th in the main event. We were impressed to say the least. And decided to phone up Michael to see just what went into his last-minute trip to Canada.

When did you decide to make the trip up to Canada?

Actually, I was talking to Nick Wey about the whole thing, and he said that Clear Channel changed the whole deal. They said that to get privateer bonuses for the regular 16 round series you have to ride the Canadian rounds, so I did this whole last minute deal. I got plane tickets and all of that, and just searched to find a bike. Some guy said that he had a bike, and I was all for it. I ended up shipping him triple clamps, bars and a bunch of stuff; I just took my suspension. When I got there on Thursday he still had the box sitting there, and the stuff wasn’t on my bike. He said that he didn’t to put it on because he knew that pros like their own settings. It was a total last minute thing.

How did you find the guy you borrowed your bike from?

Big E (Erick Bartoldus) talked to somebody, and then somebody talked to somebody—it was a chain reaction. I don’t even think I actually talked to the guy because there were so many different people that I went through.

Did you know it was going to be a 2005 bike?

Yeah I did, but I didn’t know it was that ’05.

Give us a rundown on the condition of the bike when you got there.

When I walked up, and saw it for the first time, there was a crushed header pipe—like totally crushed—everything was stock, and the clutch was as hard as a rock. The subframe was bent, and when I landed off jumps the wheel would hit the exhaust—there was even rubber on the inside of the stock exhaust. When the Dunlop guy changed the tires he said that he had to change the tube, because there was so much sand inside the tire. The guy must ride sand tracks too, because the airfilter had another filter cut sitting over the first filter for extra protection. There were also teeth missing from the sprocket. And neither of us had any sprockets, so I just ran a beat up 48-tooth sprocket all weekend.

Were you scared that the bike was going to blow up when you were hitting jumps?

Yeah, I was literally scared of this bike. The best things that were on this bike were the Pro Taper triple clamps and bars, and my suspension. I ran everything stock all weekend. I remember I was on the line for the LCQ and noticed that there was a little bit of gas in the top of the gas cap. I didn’t know what it was, so I unscrewed my gas cap and there was gas up to the rim. I was like, ‘Oh great, I’m already on a bike that’s loosing horsepower because of the smashed exhaust pipe, and everything. How am I supposed to get a holeshot against all of these guys with a full tank of gas? That’s like an extra 10 pounds of fuel.’ Somehow I holeshotted, though, and won the LCQ, but once I was in the main I just said, ‘Okay, now you’re in the main, just ride and do what you can.’ I was actually in 12th for a while but I kind of faded at the end to finish 15th.

Being a last minute decision were you in shape and ready to go?Right after Glen Helen my trainer David and I started doing weight lifting only. Then three weeks ago I found out I was going to Canada, so I had to drop the weight lifting, and do cardio only. My Cardio wasefinitely not ready for Toronto. I was planning on being ready for January 7th. I’m not at my peak for cardio, but I will be for January 7th.

In the end it turned out okay right? Would you want to throw that guy who wrenched for you props?

I can’t say too many bad things, because this guy was nice enough to let me ride his own bike. I mean, how many people let a pro ride their bike? I give the guy a ton of credit, and I thank him a lot for letting me ride his bike. But that bike wasn’t a bike that was ready to go ride a Supercross track. It would have been awesome if I wanted to go ride Elsinore for the weekend, but not a Supercross.

What was his name?

His name was Rob Thorne.

Didn’t you say you almost didn’t pass tech because the bike was missing spokes?Yeah, I had 10 minutes to go until tech was closed. We went through tech inspection, and they almost didn’t let us pass tech because the bike was missing spokes.

How many were gone?

Four or five, I think. But they were cool enough to let us go, so we found some spokes. On Friday practice I was really nervous, though.

How did the racing go for you?

In the heat race I fell in the first turn like a goon. I hit somebody’s back wheel and tipped over. Then in the semi I was in fourth, got cross-rutted, and I went off the track. I came back on in sixth. Then in the last turn there was a u-turn corner with a double right after it. I had just caught the guy in fifth in the last corner. I didn’t know who he was, so I was aiming straight for him. As I was going off the double, I was going to meet him at the end of the corner, and once I was in the air I saw a tuff-block and I landed right on it—it spit me straight to the ground. I guess I got what I deserve for trying to take him out. It was an interesting weekend, but it all turned out okay. I think this next weekend in Vancouver will be good. I’m riding for Holeshot Racing and they said that they have a brand new ’06 right out of the crate for me.

How was the track, it looked kind of rocky?

The track had some really big rock clumps in it, but it was the ruttiest Supercross track that I have ever ridden. There was a triple and then a double into a corner, and you had to land in a rut before that double—it was pretty gnarly. By the end of the main there was one rut all the way through the whoops.

Back to the clapped out bike, did it do anything weird when you were riding it?

It made a weird noise in practice on Friday. I looked down and just realized that the chain was just loose. I didn’t really ride it as hard as I could that day, because the chain was ready to come off.

So, to get year-end privateer awards you have to go to the Canadian rounds?

Yeah, to get the bonuses, or Privateer of the Year, you have to ride the Canadian rounds. From what I understand, Clear Channel has a points fund and there is a certain amount of money that they put in for each main that is split evenly for all of the privateers that make the main. No matter if one guy gets fifth and I get 15th, we both get the same amount of money. I got that money last year, but I didn’t go to the Canadian rounds. This year they pay you midseason, in Orlando, and at the end of the season in Vegas. It’s really good money, but from what I understand you have to go to the Canadian rounds.

Did you loose any money going to Canada?

No, I did okay. I’m bummed though, because I just learned that Honda doesn’t pay contingency for the Canadian rounds. I made good money, though, from Clear Channel. They did an awesome job, because they comp your FIM license and your card. I also shared a room with Big E so that wasn’t too bad.

Oh man, that must have been painful.

(Laughs) Sharing a hotel room is always interesting with Big E.

Last year was your best year ever. What made the difference last year from previous years?

I don’t know I kind of found my groove in the 250 class, and I just stuck with it instead of only riding the west coast rounds. I also got a trainer at the beginning of the year—David Martinez—and he helped me out a lot. I dedicated myself a lot more than I ever have, and I noticed a huge difference. I only rode Glen Helen, because it was the only National that I could afford to ride since it was so close to home. I ended up getting top-20 in both motos and earned a National number. Now, I’m training even harder than I did last year and have two Supercross tracks to ride: Competitive Edge and Glen Helen. Things are coming together much better than they ever have, I have a ton of people behind me, and I already feel like it is going to be an even better year in ’06. I can’t get ahead of myself, though. I just need to keep getting through the rounds, and try not to do anything stupid

What are your ultimate goals for the year?

My ultimate goal for the year is that I want to be top-15 for every main event, but right now I just want to concentrate on making every main event. Last year, I made two mains and I rode most of the season with a broken wrist. I ended up getting the surgery when the season was over. This year I am training even harder, and I think that it is a really reasonable goal.

How many rounds did you go to?

I did every round almost, but I didn’t start riding the 450 until San Francisco and that was the first main that I made. After that I dropped the 125 class all together. Then I rode until Pontiac, since it was the last round that I couldn’t stand the pain in my wrist. I stopped after Pontiac, and had the surgery done.

When did you break your wrist?

I broke it in the first lap of the main in San Diego. I just tipped over in a corner and broke my Navicular (Scaphoid). I still got up and finished the main. I think I got 17th or 18th. I got it X-rayed by Doc Bodnar at the race. It was too soon, though, so the break didn’t show up. I went to Atlanta the next weekend and it still hurt, but I just taped it up. After that I kept racing the following weekends. Until finally, I went to Doctor Murphy in San Diego and they found the break. He said that I could keep going if I could handle the pain, because it couldn’t get any worse. I think I went four more rounds after that, and then I couldn’t handle the pain anymore, so I had to get the surgery

Michael’s Sponsors:

The Moto Show, parts.com, Answer Racing CTF, Z Gallery, Smith, FMF, HJC, Dunlop, Pro Taper, Factory Effex, Etnies, Ready Filter, Works Connection, Kicker, Astrisk, TransWorld, Ogio, John Burr Cycles, Competitive Edge, Celtic Computers, Gearne, MB1 Suspension, Quicksilvers, and I just stuck with it instead of only riding the west coast rounds. I also got a trainer at the beginning of the year—David Martinez—and he helped me out a lot. I dedicated myself a lot more than I ever have, and I noticed a huge difference. I only rode Glen Helen, because it was the only National that I could afford to ride since it was so close to home. I ended up getting top-20 in both motos and earned a National number. Now, I’m training even harder than I did last year and have two Supercross tracks to ride: Competitive Edge and Glen Helen. Things are coming together much better than they ever have, I have a ton of people behind me, and I already feel like it is going to be an even better year in ’06. I can’t get ahead of myself, though. I just need to keep getting through the rounds, and try not to do anything stupid

What are your ultimate goals for the year?

My ultimate goal for the year is that I want to be top-15 for every main event, but right now I just want to concentrate on making every main event. Last year, I made two mains and I rode most of the season with a broken wrist. I ended up getting the surgery when the season was over. This year I am training even harder, and I think that it is a really reasonable goal.

How many rounds did you go to?

I did every round almost, but I didn’t start riding the 450 until San Francisco and that was the first main that I made. After that I dropped the 125 class all together. Then I rode until Pontiac, since it was the last round that I couldn’t stand the pain in my wrist. I stopped after Pontiac, and had the surgery done.

When did you break your wrist?

I broke it in the first lap of the main in San Diego. I just tipped over in a corner and broke my Navicular (Scaphoid). I still got up and finished the main. I think I got 17th or 18th. I got it X-rayed by Doc Bodnar at the race. It was too soon, though, so the break didn’t show up. I went to Atlanta the next weekend and it still hurt, but I just taped it up. After that I kept racing the following weekends. Until finally, I went to Doctor Murphy in San Diego and they found the break. He said that I could keep going if I could handle the pain, because it couldn’t get any worse. I think I went four more rounds after that, and then I couldn’t handle the pain anymore, so I had to get the surgery

Michael’s Sponsors:

The Moto Show, parts.com, Answer Racing CTF, Z Gallery, Smith, FMF, HJC, Dunlop, Pro Taper, Factory Effex, Etnies, Ready Filter, Works Connection, Kicker, Astrisk, TransWorld, Ogio, John Burr Cycles, Competitive Edge, Celtic Computers, Gearne, MB1 Suspension, Quicksilver